Wednesday, August 3

Sharps and Flats

Me me me me me me me me!!!

Sorry, no I haven’t become even more of a self-obsessed egomaniac than I already was. I’m doing my vocal warm ups. Excuse me.

Me me me me me me me me!!!

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do!!!

Why are there seven notes in a scale? I mean, who decided?

There’s no specific reason for it. There could be as many as you want. I mean, effectively there are twelve, if you include the sharps and the flats. And those are bloody confusing when you are learning to read music. You see a note on one of the five lines, forget the key signature at the beginning of the line, play it standard rather than as a sharp and end up with one of those horrible duff notes that means you have to stop playing and start from scratch. Why can’t there just be twelve notes, each with their own place on the stave, and then there would be no confusion.

And why the hell are there five lines on the stave anyway? Seven notes, five lines. What bloody genius thought that one up???

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do

And why does the alphabet have to be in that particular order. Have you ever thought about that. Millions of children every year learn how to say their ABC. Would the world fall apart if they learned it ACB instead? Wouldn’t it make sense to change it now to something which would help us remember their positions on a keyboard? After all, hardly anyone ever picks up a pen and writes these days anyway.

Or maybe we could put all the most commonly used letters at the start and the least common ones at the end. I mean X and Z are there already, but they’ve got Y in between which is quite handy, so why don’t we move Q up there instead? Kids tend to learn the letters starting from the beginning, so if we did it that way, they’d know all the really useful ones first and would be much quicker to figure out how to put them to use.

There are some of these things that make sense. We work our numbers in a decimal system because we have ten fingers. (Well actually eight and two thumbs but let’s not get pedantic here.) But at some point, someone just decided that there would be 26 letters in the alphabet, and that this would be the order they would go in. There’s no actual logic to it, it’s totally arbitrary.

But really, it’s those seven notes in a scale that bug me the most. Seven notes. Plus five sharps and flats, because A sharp and B flat are actually the same note but there are rules about when you call it one and when you call it the other, and about whether you actually mark it as a flat or use a key signature at the beginning of the stave, and it just seems like whoever decided how music would be annotated decided that they would make it as bloody confusing as humanly possible just to make themselves seem really really clever because they could understand it all and no other bugger could.

What note do you get if you drop a piano on a parade ground.

A Flat Major! Boom Boom!


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